The extraordinary story of how the human brain evolved… and is still evolving.
We’ve come a long way. The earliest human had a brain as small as a child’s fist; ours are four times bigger, with spectacular abilities and potential we are only just beginning to understand.
This is How the Mind Changed, a seven-million-year journey through our own heads, packed with vivid stories, groundbreaking science, and thrilling surprises. Discover how memory has almost nothing to do with the past; meditation rewires our synapses; magic mushroom use might be responsible for our intelligence; climate accounts for linguistic diversity; and how autism teaches us hugely positive lessons about our past and future.
Dr. Joseph Jebelli’s In Pursuit of Memory was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize and longlisted for the Wellcome. In this, his eagerly awaited second book, he draws on deep insights from neuroscience, evolutionary biology, psychology, and philosophy to guide us through the unexpected changes that shaped our brains. From genetic accidents and environmental forces to historical and cultural advances, he explores how our brain’s evolution turned us into Homo sapiens and beyond.
A single mutation is all it takes.
About the Author
Joseph Jebelli is a neuroscientist and a writer. He received a PhD in neuroscience from University College London for his work on the cell biology of neurodegenerative diseases, then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle. His much acclaimed first book, In Pursuit of Memory, was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize and longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize. He lives in London.
"How did humans develop such a runaway mind? Joseph Jebelli masterfully illuminates the neurobiological road by which we arrived, and where it might reach from here."—David Eagleman, bestselling author of Livewired and Incognito
"A slim, accessible and thought-provoking book...Jebelli writes with aplomb and an eye for arresting asides."—The Times (UK)
“Jebelli ably demonstrates just how successful evolution's experiments with the human brain have been while it remains a wondrous work-in-progress.”—Booklist